Trainer Todd Smart will have to keep the champagne on ice if he wins the last race at Wagga on Sunday given the subsequent trial featuring his $2m Kosciuszko contender Kelvedon Road.
The Canberra-based horseman’s immediate focus will be on his lightly-raced four-year-old Encyclopedia who tackles the Riverina Hotel Class 1 Handicap over 1300m.
Sunday’s mission will be the gelding’s only second start in the space of 12 months – more by design than anything forced upon him.
“The owner suggested we give him as much time as we want and he just put the horse in the paddock and gave him the time he needed,” Smart explained.
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“He always needed that run the other day and now I think he will spot on and ready to go on Sunday.”
Encyclopedia gave a good account of himself when resurfacing from the lay-off in a Sapphire Coast Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m) on July 24.
The son of Divine Prophet parked in behind the speed from his favorable draw, tiring late but sticking to the task honorably given the circumstances.
“I thought that was a really, really good run, particularly as he was first-up for 12 months,” Smart said.
“We’ve got Damon (Budler) back on again on Sunday and he’s had that run underneath his belt. It’s primed and ready to go.
“He has a perfect gate and has some real options, he will probably race that little bit closer. I’m happy with him and everything is going really well.”
Meanwhile after the last, Smart’s attention will turn to his barnstorming gelding Kelvedon Road who is purpose-built for a fast run 1200m at Royal Randwick.
Smart is naturally eager to test his charge over that same track and distance come October 15 in the now $2m Kosciuszko.
Kelvedon’s Road’s countdown to the annual feature more or less begins in a 1000m barrier trial after the last at Wagga this weekend.
“He won the Canberra Guineas Prelude last preparation and is a very classy horse,” Smart said.
“He had a few little issues last preparation and we have ironed those out and you’ll see the best of him this preparation.
“I am sure he will get to a high level. Whether he gets to the Kosciuskzo or not, we will see, but he will be ready to go if someone wants him.
“The 1200m and Randwick would be spot on for him. One day there in a Highway over 1400m, he rattled off a real quick sectional over the last little bit.
“He has grown and strengthened and is a more mature horse.
“We’ll trial him on Sunday and then we will see where we are up to,” Smart said.
Kelvedon Road was bred by Hawkesbury Equine veterinarian Dr Ian Duckworth who has the rare distinction of having bred a Golden Slipper; in his case the 2014 race winner, Mossfun.
Race 2 No.3: Steve Steve Steve
Clearly the most talented horse in the race and comes off a gritty second to his in-form stablemate Victory In Omaha at Bega last time out.
Race 7 No.7: Encyclopedia
Sent out all the right signals when fifth at the Sapphire Coast at his first run in 12 months. Looks well placed to score.
Race 1 No.3: My Brother Bob
Been a model of consistency for his whole career in fact and deserves some reward for effort. go close.
Race 4: 1,7,8,9
Race 5: 4,5,9,13
Race 6: 3,5,6
Race 7: 7
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
Group 1 winning jockey Alysha Collett heads to Wagga on Sunday with a handful of choice mounts.
My Brother Bob has been the proven model of consistency pretty much from day one, well day two to be precise. The Ron Stubb-trained gelding has finished in the top four at all of his last six starts, four of them are placings – two of those were on heavy tracks. Rupp is a son of Rubick out of a Catbird mare; his second dam is by the great Red Anchor. This Leon and Troy Corstons trained gelding was the eye-catcher of the race on debut at Donald; 1400m ideal today. Aunt Bridge has finished runner-up at both of her starts for Donna Scott. go well.
Bet: My Brother Bob to win
Steve Steve Steve is very likely the most talented in the race. The Theresa Bateup-trained gelding finished second at his most recent start to his leader/stablemate Victory At Omaha and all credit to the winner but it was a wickedly biased track that day. Steve Steve Steve is by a renowned wet track sire in Pluck and seems to get through it like most of them. Miss Horsebro has only won once in her 14 starts but she seems to be okay on rain affected tracks. Victorian visitor Showman is building to a win.
Bet: Steve Steve Steve to win
This promises to be a fascinating race. A real war of attrition/survival of the fittest given they have to go 3.8km on a Heavy 10. Cranbourne trainers Emma-Lee and David Browne have three of the six supposed runners led by Maktastic who has only won once in 20 starts but has placed seven times. Good draw, good jockey but slightly concerned about the Heavy 10. Stablemate Dente has a pedigree full of stamina. Not only is she a daughter of a Melbourne Cup winner, Fiorente, her mother is by Jeune. The third of the stable runners is Landgrave who has the best wet track form of the trio.
Bet: Maktastic to win
Dancing With Kitty is by Sidestep who is the father of Kiamichi, a great wet-track no doubt about that. As for Dancing With Kitty, she seems to favor the rain affected going herself given that she has two third from six starts on Good but two wins on Soft and four placings from six starts on the Heavy. Scarlet Prince, a son of the muddie Casino Prince, boasts all his best form on Heavy tracks. Trialled rather well on the Heavy 10 at Gundagai 6-days ago. Joe Cleary/Gerry Harvey blue blooded mare Murkowski is a market watch; has the form to win the race. Miss Elsie May excels at this track/distance.
Bet: Dancing With Kitty to win
Star Buyer has always shown a bit of talent. The son of Written Tycoon will be on debut for new trainer Geoff Duryea who takes over from John O’Shea. Star Buyer raced six times for Racing To Win’s trainer, placing at three of them in clearly better races than what he contests today. Should be okay on the heavy. Nymage is a Tim Donnelly trained filly who has a bright future. Beaten a fair space on debut when SPed at $2.80. Tried well before that. First-up here makes her the market watch; her and Star Buyer that is. Allegorical is another Gerry Harvey mare and ran her PB last start on a Heavy 9.
Bet: Star Buyer to win, quinella 4.13
Delacour is speedy and handy mare who has raced 23 times for 6 wins and 8 placings, 5 of those are seconds. Probably used up a bit too much first-up at Queanbeyan in a very strong race. Fitter for the outing at least and is very well weighted with the 4kg claim. Seventh Seal, the Fast Rock son of Episode and brother to First Seal is one of the best wet-trackers racing at Wagga today. On top of that, the Mitchell Beer trained gelding has placed at four of five at the track/distance. Calescent has won three of six first-up and is deadly at this track/distance.
Bet: Delacour to win
Encyclopedia is a Todd Smart-trained son of the Guineas winner Divine Prophet. The gelding was almost a year to the day between runs when he resurfaced at the Sapphire Coast on July 24 in a leader dominated race. Smart’s charge tired a little bit late but that was to be expected; in fact, he ran a really encouraging race bearing in mind all the circumstances. Super Aurora broke her maiden at Echuca three starts and significant to note that it was a Heavy 9 that day. Go well, Tornac ran quite well against the wicked bias at Bega last start.
Bet: Encyclopedia to win